For the first time in months there is a glimmer of optimism from the business community in Point Roberts.
That’s what the Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce expressed after seven members of Congress, co-signed a letter to U.S. president Joe Biden on Feb. 22, urging for a plan to safely re-open the Canada/U.S. border to help the isolated community. The border has been closed to non-essential travel since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago.
The letter was written following an awareness campaign launched by the chamber that included letters and petitions sent to U.S. and Canadian politicians.
“I was absolutely elated to see that finally, finally, our elected officials are hearing what I have been saying for the past 11 months,” stated Brian Calder, chair of the Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce. “I sincerely thank these members of Congress for acknowledging just how severely the border closures have impacted Point Roberts and for taking the initiative to push for a resolution
“Point Roberts is a unique community that requires a unique solution. Other exclaves were granted relaxations of their border restrictions several months ago, but Point Roberts was left to contend with the ‘one-size-fits-all solution’ that was uniformly applied along the rest of the U.S.-Canada border. I can tell you it is killing Point Roberts. We’ve lived it since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 when we were cut loose and left to fend for ourselves. It is destroying our community and we are at a crisis point.”
It was recently announced Point Roberts’ residents would be exempt from COVID testing if they are travelling through the border for essential services.
The Congress members, led by Suzan DelBene (WA-01), would like to see further flexibility, including allowing non-essential travel to the U.S. mainland and Canadian property owners to cross the border to maintain their vacation homes.
Calder added significant private funding for rapid testing would be provided at the Boundary Bay crossing.
“The Canadian government has demonstrated that it is willing to consider and implement a reasonable relaxation of border restrictions where merited,” he said. “I have confirmed the availability of $50,000 in private funding to implement a COVID-19 Rapid Testing Station at the Point Roberts Point of Entry.“Surely this can be the start of a conversation that can be supported by elected officials on both sides of the border. I am confident we can address the issues Point Roberts is facing without compromising the health and safety of the public. To ignore this situation any longer will certainly be the end of Point Roberts.”